medicine

Off with his head

This week’s post has probably the most potential of anything I’ve ever written to cause the greatest level of discomfort and embarrassment – not just for me, but for nearly a full half of the entire human race. It’s a subject that can hardly even be mentioned without all those who happen to be both in earshot, and in possession of the requisite dangly bits, want to cross their legs while enduring a sustained moment of pained wincing at the very thought of it. As a member of the aforementioned group, I find it especially hard to raise this subject, and not just for the reasons of physical awkwardness thus far stated; my innate stiff Englishness and general inability to be cock-sure and confident when addressing such issues means I am largely incapable of standing tremendously proud when I say, in the words of Kryten, the service mechanoid from “Red Dwarf” who temporarily becomes human and consequently has many questions about his new body, “I want to talk to you about my penis”. Read more “Off with his head”

Science, bitches: it works

Disgracefully, I haven’t written a blog post in a little over a month; predictably, I have an excuse; surprisingly, it’s a really good one. Since easter weekend my partner, Raven, and I have been engaged in a seemingly never-ending battle against the forces of contagion present in the numerous furry creatures we’ve chosen to take on as pets. As you may be aware, we are the proud keepers of a number of rats, and since Good Friday we’ve been trying desperately to manage an outbreak of respiratory infection that spread through the colony faster than internet rumours about John Travolta’s predilection for man-handling the occasional man-handler. As we spent many an hour trying to persuade our collection of adorable nuisances to take a variety of different medicines, weighing them to ensure correct dosing, measuring the amount of food and drink they were taking each day to make sure they were getting enough, and looking for changes in both their behaviour and demeanour, it occurred to me that we were, in a very real way, demonstrating successful application of the scientific method. How do I know it was successful? Simple … it got results. Read more “Science, bitches: it works”

Nation’s Healthcare Sodomised

This week, one of America’s most deserving candidates for urgent attention from a mental health professional, Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum, decided to make a stale start to the new year by doing pretty much the exact same thing he’s been doing for all the previous ones; opening his mouth and squeezing out words that remind one of the now commonly accepted, and rather unpleasant, alternate meaning of his surname. As is so often the case with his fellow patients in the rubber room of American politics that is the Republican party, Rick sprayed the airwaves with a hail of dung bullets in a drive-by shitting that consisted of blaming the collapse of the British empire on the National Health Service (among other social programmes). Other than exposing his ignorance of history, and a blatant agenda of protecting the US healthcare industry by slamming “Obamacare”, it demonstrated, once again, that American politicians (who no doubt have private health coverage out the arse) really need to shut the fuck up about the NHS. Read more “Nation’s Healthcare Sodomised”

Bring it

So, as I was saying last week before I became hopelessly sidetracked into ranting about Jeremy Clarkson (it’s easily done, I know, what with him being in possession of a face that would look infinitely better if a fist was ploughing through it faster than a Bugatti Veyron with a rocket up its arse), I have recently been involved in a Twitter-based scientific argument with a user by the name of @Adam4004. His name, which consists of a reference to both the bible’s first man and the year (BCE) literalists claim is when the earth was created, was my first clue to his being a young earth creationist (or “moron” for short). The second was that he offered not a single scrap of evidence for any of his frequently asinine claims, choosing instead simply to assert the truth of his statements whilst ignoring all requests to provide references and citations for the many studies and peer-reviewed papers that undoubtedly support them. The reason we had to go through such a frustrating dance is that evidence to a theist is like a backbone to Nick Clegg; they can’t show any, because they ain’t got any. Read more “Bring it”

Trans-mission

This blogging lark can be a bit frustrating sometimes. There you are thinking you’ve got the week’s topic sorted and the post itself well under way (alright, 1/6th under way) when, suddenly, almost out of nowhere, along comes something that throws a massive spanner in the works and everything changes. One minute your article was one thing, the next you find you have to begin the slow, difficult process of turning it into something else entirely. Since there are no wrongly imprisoned teens to write about, and most of my relatives are thankfully of good health, what could it be this time? Well, it was, in fact, Fox News psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow’s article on Chaz Bono, son of Cher (and Sonny), and his upcoming appearance on “Dancing With The Stars”. I won’t dignify the article with a link, so please take my word for it when I tell you, in no uncertain terms, that Dr. Keith Ablow is an ignorant, hate-mongering, transphobic shit-bag. Read more “Trans-mission”

Too orangey for crows

When I was young, maybe about 5 or 6 years old, my mum was always telling me not to put so much orange squash in my glass before filling it with water. In a time when actual proper orange juice was still considered something of a luxury, putting in a bit more squash than I should have would give it a decent, fuller, more orangey taste – it was like giving myself a treat! Mum would always tell us that “too much is bad for you”, which, of course, is true, but it masked her real feelings that using more meant that it would run out sooner and she’d have to buy another bottle. Like many children, this would have been my introduction to the concept of dilution; the idea that the more you water something down, the weaker it gets, and it seemed so obvious to me that a large amount of something should overwhelm a small amount of something else. So how is it that the only people in history, it seems, who never grasped this concept were the proponents of homeopathy? Read more “Too orangey for crows”

Measles, McCarthy, and Reason

Every one of us has, at some point in our lives, met someone truly deserving of the label, “gobshite”; someone who, rather like a geography teacher, could speak at great length about nothing in particular. The kind of person who could bang on for hours, like a carpenter with OCD, and never say anything worth listening to. For the most part, we simply tolerate their seemingly limitless capacity for verbal diarrhoea and see it as little more than a minor annoyance – the kind of grating personality trait that we all have and others learn to work around. Occasionally, however, we’d meet a prolific purveyor of bovine faeces that cannot be ignored because they’ve strayed far beyond the realms of the irritatingly harmless and into the territory of the positively lethal; someone who can talk themselves, and those around them, into deep trouble with consummate ease. The kind of person to whom you find yourself saying “seriously, dude, you need to shut the fuck up” far too often. If you want a classic example of the “dangerous gobshite”, look no further than Jenny McCarthy. Read more “Measles, McCarthy, and Reason”